Learn to let go

By: Ashish Kumar – L&T MHPS

Humans are restless…literally. The achievers, the creators of their own destiny, the classroom-conditioned go-getters and the never say die kind of species. They would rather make things happen to their satisfaction than holding back and accepting the natural outcome. Making things happen is a more acceptable behaviour in our societal circles.

And such zeal for productive action and perseverance is the very reason behind our greatness, behind all innovations and amazing creations. Taking charge of life and taking preemptive actions guarantees affluence. Successful people are known to exhibit control over their surroundings by making tireless efforts and thereby create their dream lives. We all want to be one of them or we are one of them. So far so good.

But there’s a catch. There has be a price to be paid. This ‘desirable’ hunger for accomplishment and the never-ending thirst for success is addictive and compulsive in nature. Once you care about it too much, it starts to build upon you, an enormous obligation to achieve more and more, a phenomenon similar to peer pressure. You are expected to deliver at all costs and you yourself don’t want to lose, even a slightest portion of it. If you are left behind, you are grappled with the fear of rejection.

Take example to an oblivious author who once wrote a masterpiece and springs to overnight fame by hitting a chance to write for a famous website. Liked and admired by millions, the writer suffered self-doubt while writing the second time due to unduly pressure to deliver even better. And it kept on mounting every time he wrote something more worthwhile. It was all in his own psyche, not that his writing plateaued. That’s the reason so many renowned experts in their fields end up in depressed and resort to alcohol and drug abuse.

Its understandable that we all have limitations and imperfections. And we struggle to accept the fact that we cannot be everything that every other guy expects us to be. When we try to set the bar too high for us and have unrealistic expectations, the only obvious outcomes are frustration, guilt and anger.

This is the problem many of us face today especially in the corporate environment. Guided by the superfluous ambitions, you build on your mind, a constant pressure to perform at a certain level and keep improving. This can result in unwanted stress and insecurity. There are occasions when things don’t fall in place even after putting all the efforts. Under such scenario, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be discomfited. Know your limits and take a balanced approach. If you allow your surroundings to dictate you in your decision-making, your personal well being is bound to be compromised.

Now having said all that, the intent is not to advocate passivity, inaction and laziness. Neither should one stop attempting and pursuing higher purpose in life.

Just that you need to differentiate between what ‘you’ want and what ‘everybody else’ want you to be. You’ve got your own life, don’t make your decisions based on what others expect from you. Do what makes you happy and let go of actions and situations which your conscience resists.

The same applies in personal relations. A relationship (especially romantic) to say, doesn’t work in the environment of insecurity and fear. Generally, one of them (called the weak person in the relationship) feels unloved and demands for something like love or affection which is not available from the strong person. Distances start to build and things head for destiny. But the weak person doesn’t let go and use force and intimidation as tools to find and grab the non-existent love. This way, things only get worse. It’s far better to let go and give freedom to whoever don’t love you back.

Here the old school premise plays well – “The more you squeeze your fist, the more it slips away”. Love unconditionally without the expectation of being loved back. Force is the opposite of love, so don’t force. Love will find you where you let go of the force. Although it’s better said than done, as it doesn’t come naturally to us because of our perennial illusion that we are in control when we are actually not.

A vast array of sources of our grief stem from this single trait of ours, of not ‘letting go’. And this is something to learn and practise. In troubling situations, where we are not in control, we must strive to accept the spontaneity of the universe and let things unfold the way they are destined to. When that is learnt, it’s easy to forgive, easy to admit mistakes, easy to reach out to people and easy to show kindness. Basically our perception of the world changes and we find ourselves better placed to experience happiness.

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prasenjit sen

Nice article Ashish. People are afraid of failures. What we forget is that the failures are the pillars of success. So we must learn from our failures and move on, not to lament over it.

Ashish Kumar

Thanks Aman and Vikram Sir, for reading.

Ayush Jain

Good thought. I have been trying to practice the same, though as you say it’s easier said than done.


Very nicely written. You should write more often.

Well written. Thought provoking.

Ashish Kumar

Thank u Pritha, for the read.
Yes, we struggle to accept the fact that difficult situations are part and parcel of life and we must develop resilience to NOT let such situations alter normal course of life. Thats the whole idea.


Nicely said. But I don’t know how many of us can so easily handle situations in pain! Will practice, as suggested.. “let go of the things you cannot control”